MONTREAL, QC – JUNE 30: Alex Morgan #13 of the United States reacts with teammate Meghan Klingenberg #22 after Morgan was fouled in the box in the second half against Germany in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Semi-Final Match at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

USA Proves the Doubters Wrong By Going to Women’s World Cup Final

One! More! Game! The USWNT is one step away from the summit of women’s soccer, the USA is in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. They will face either Japan in a World Cup Final rematch or face England on Independence Day weekend. Japan and England will play on Sunday night at 6 PM ET on regular FOX.

This game was thrilling from beginning to end. After dominating possession for the first five minutes, the USA put it into overdrive. They attacked, they connected passes, they were faster, they were more physical. The only thing they couldn’t do was finish. Whether it was Tobin Heath launching perfect through balls or Megan Rapinoe making sweet moves to get away from her defender or Alex Morgan using her speed to get in a one-on-one between her and Nadine Angerer, the shots just weren’t coming. There was this one off of a corner that I had no clue how Angerer kept it out but that was the closest the USA got to scoring in the first half.

The game got serious in the first half as Alexandra Popp was bleeding out of her head after a violent clash of heads with Morgan Brian. Both players got back into the game after a few minutes of being on the ground and I’m going to let you decide if they should’ve been subbed out. I don’t know if they should or shouldn’t but they probably needed longer than the amount of time they did have to rule of someone was concussed or not.

Anyway, the second half hit and it really looked like Germany was going to score. They were the ones connecting with everything and it seemed like it was just a matter of time. That was most evident when Julie Johnston allowed a clear penalty. Honestly, she should’ve been sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity but the referee decided against it. Celia Sasic stepped up to the spot to give Germany the lead and then this happened.

Now, with new life, the USA got it together but still couldn’t find that last piece to complete the puzzle. They just couldn’t finish. But once those doubts were in full force, the USA got their own penalty as Alex Morgan was taken down. Again, it looked like the USA was rather fortunate with the call because the ball looked like it was outside of the box as the infraction was called but nevertheless, it was a PK. Unlike Germany, Carli Lloyd stepped up for the USA and blasted it into the top right corner of the goal.

Jill Ellis was criticized earlier for playing too defensively and let weaker teams like Colombia remain into their Round of 16 game. It even caused Eric Wynalda to say he was “a little embarrassed” by the performance. Tonight, the gloves came off and Ellis tried to double down by bringing on the all time leading scorer in US Soccer history Abby Wambach. In a scenario where Ellis maybe should’ve played a bit more defensively and held onto the 1-0, put all her chips in the middle of the table and it paid off big time. Wambach came on, she set up Lloyd who put the cross to Kelley O’Hara for her first international goal.

Once it was 2-0, Germany finally showed their fatigue and the USA had beaten the #1 women’s team in the world. Once the game ended, the USWNT hadn’t allowed a goal in the last 513 minutes of World Cup play. “Defense wins championships,” and that’s what it looks like for this team. This back line underwent a complete 180 compared to a few months ago. Grant Wahl made this point and I have to agree.

And now we wait for Sunday. Japan plays England for the other Final spot and then it is gametime. The USA proved me wrong. I had thought they weren’t good enough to win and they struggled to put together wins. If they can play like this on Sunday, it won’t matter who the opponent is on Sunday, the USA will be lifting that trophy if they play like how they play against Germany.

Back to the game, this game seriously had it all. I mentioned during halftime that this was how soccer should be played and the second half confirmed all that. Both teams were at their absolute best. Both teams attacked, both teams were entertaining and both teams were physical. The people watching soccer for the first time were spoiled by watching this game tonight. This was thrilling of the entire 90 minutes. Now there is just one game left to see if the USA can win their first World Cup since 1999.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @phillipbupp